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2018-2019 Performing Arts Series at Stephens Auditorium Subscriptions ON SALE NOW to the General Public

Celebrating 50 Years of Entertainment with the 2018-2019 Performing Arts Series at Stephens Auditorium includes exciting performances from around the world to help celebrate the occasion: Celtic Thunder, The King’s Singers, The San Francisco Symphony and many more! This year’s Broadway Series includes Something Rotten!, Cinderella, Kinky Boots, The Sound of Music, and Rent! Subscriptions are on sale now to the general public; individual tickets go on sale this fall.

September 23, longtime comedians, Steve Martin and Martin Short will kick off the new Series with “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life.” The show includes stand-up, film clips, musical numbers and conversations about their lives in show business. Martin and Short will be joined by the Grammy-winning bluegrass band, Steep Canyon Rangers, which features Martin on banjo.

 On October 4, we welcome The Illusionists, a mind-blowing spectacle that showcases the talents of five of the most incredible illusionists on earth. Audiences will witness stunning acts of grand illusion, levitation, mind-reading, disappearance, and for the first time ever in history, a full-view water torture escape. This group of world-class performers has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most astonishing acts ever to be seen on stage. 

Stephens Auditorium hosts Celtic Thunder X on October 17. Celebrating 10 years, this brand new live show is known for dramatic effects via lighting and choreography as well as realistic Irish stage sets with authentic Irish instruments. The performances have dramatic solos, compelling ensembles, and comedic acts. Celtic Thunder is viewed by millions on PBS with record number of sold out shows, which is how they have become a household name all around the world. A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

Capitol Steps, a troupe of Congressional-staffers-turned comedians, hits the stage on October 22. Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded 35 albums, including their latest, “Orange is the New Barack” and had over 5,000 performances in 48 states. They have been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, and can be heard twice a year on National Public Radio stations nationwide during their “Politics Takes a Holiday” radio specials. The material is updated constantly, so no matter who or what is in the headlines, the Capitol Steps are equal opportunity offenders.

“Broadway’s big, fat hit!” (New York Post), Something Rotten!, comes to Stephens Auditorium on October 30. Set in 1595, this hilarious smash tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom, two brothers who are desperate to write a hit play. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL! With its heart on its ruffled sleeve and sequins in its soul, Something Rotten! is “The Producers & Spamalot & The Book of Mormon. Squared!” (New York Magazine). A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

The Tony Award-winning musical, Cinderella, will make its way to Ames on November 13. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love–the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more–plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” and “Ten Minutes Ago” in this hilarious and romantic experience for anyone who’s ever had a dream. A pre-show dinner is available for this performance. 

On November 30, VenuWorks Theatricals presents Noël, by world-renowned creator of the Artemis Fowl series, author Eoin Colfer and movie composer Liam Bates. A Christmas musical that is fun for the whole family, Noël depicts the journey of a young girl whose mother has mysteriously vanished. In searching for her mother, this anxious little girl who has lost her singing voice meets a motley crew of characters who want to help. In doing so, they rediscover their belief in the magic of Christmas and in themselves. A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

The winner of six 2013 Tony® Awards, including Best Musical, Kinky Boots features a Tony® Award-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, a book by Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, and direction and choreography by Tony® Award-winner Jerry Mitchell. Kinky Boots will take the stage on January 31. Inspired by true events, this smash-hit musical tells the uplifting and heartwarming tale of Charlie Price, a young man reluctantly taking over his family’s struggling shoe factory and looking for a fresh idea. Charlie meets and finds inspiration in Lola, and together they discover that it takes a good friend to make a great pair. A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

Founded in 2004 by Boston native and German Wheel artist Chris Lashua, Cirque Mechanics will bring its production 42FT: A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels to Stephens on February 4. Cirque Mechanics, although inspired by modern circus, finds its roots in the mechanical and its heart in the stories of American ingenuity. The show’s message is both timeless and relevant, with stories that are wrapped in circus acrobatics, mechanical wonders and a bit of clowning around.

First formed in 1968 by six recently-graduated choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge, The King’s Singers features two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass. They have consistently been welcomed on the world’s great stages – from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Opera House in Sydney – and they will be at Stephens Auditorium on February 14. The world may have changed a lot in the fifty years since the original acapella ensemble came together, but today’s group is still charged by the same lifeblood – one that wants to give life to audiences with their virtuosity and vision for an exciting musical future. A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

The Tony, Grammy, and Academy Award winner for Best Score, The Sound of Music, returns to Stephens Auditorium on March 28. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp family will once again thrill audiences with classics like “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

Widely considered to be among the most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the U.S., the San Francisco Symphony will play Stephens Auditorium on March 29. Two Iowa natives perform with the San Francisco Symphony – Jacob Nissly, principal percussionist, grew up in Grimes, Iowa and attended Dowling High School in Des Moines and John Engelkes, bass trombonist is originally from Parkersburg, Iowa. The SF Symphony was established by a group of San Francisco citizens, music-lovers, and musicians in the wake of the 1906 earthquake, and almost immediately, it revitalized the city’s cultural life. The San Francisco Symphony has grown in stature and acclaim under a succession of distinguished music directors. Their success continues under the musical direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, now in his 23rd season. A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Broadway masterpiece, RENT, will hit the stage on April 27, with its 20th Anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.  A pre-show dinner is available for this performance.

Subscription Orders may be placed online at

Single Tickets go on sale Fall 2018.

About Iowa State Center
The Iowa State Center (managed by VenuWorks) is a multi-building conference and performing arts complex.  The Center’s Stephens Auditorium, a 2,725-seat hall, hosts a dazzling array of international performances of music, theater and dance, as well as world-class orchestras, popular Broadway musicals, and explosive country and rock concerts. Fisher Theater seats 434 in an intimate setting, perfect for drama, dance and ISU theater productions. The Scheman Building, with 25 meeting rooms, two large lobbies and the 456-seat Benton Auditorium is a great meeting space for conferences, seminars and social events.

About VenuWorks
VenuWorks is a leader in venue management, providing customized solutions for multi-purpose sports, entertainment and recreation facilities, theatres and conference and convention centers throughout the country, offering full service management services including operations, event booking and marketing.  VenuWorks is headquartered in Ames, IA and was founded in 1996.  For more information, please visit

Holly Boman, Iowa State Center, 515-294-3566, email:
Tammy Koolbeck, Iowa State Center, 515-294-8809, email:

Submitted by Iowa State Center


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